‘The Galenist as Mechanist: Claude Perrault and the Natural History of Animals’

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By | Early Medicine, Events and Visits

Claude Perrault. Stipple engraving by A. Forestier. Wellcome Images V0004616

The first seminar in the 2013-14 History of Pre-Modern Medicine academic seminar series, will take place on Tuesday 15th October.

Details: Anita Guerrini (Oregon State)

‘The Galenist as Mechanist: Claude Perrault and the Natural History of Animals’


Claude Perrault (1613-1688) is remembered (if he is remembered at all) as an architect and perhaps as an early leader of the Paris Academy of Sciences.  His scientific ideas have been  largely overlooked.  A graduate of the notoriously conservative Paris Faculty of Medicine, he remained in many ways a Galenist.  He reconciled this with a mechanist philosophy of human and animal function in his work on the Academy’s natural history of animals, but a Galenist emphasis on the individual may be seen in his reluctance to adopt any system of animal classification, a reluctance that passed down to Buffon.


The seminar will take place in the Wellcome Trust, Gibbs Building, 215 Euston Road, NW1 2BE.  Doors at 6pm prompt, seminars will start at 6.15.

The seminar series is focused on pre-modern medicine, which we take to cover European and non-European history before the 20th century (antiquity, medieval and early modern history, some elements of 19th-century medicine).

Further details on the seminar series are available in a previous post.

Ross Macfarlane

Ross Macfarlane is the Research Engagement Officer at the Wellcome Library.

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